Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Our Educational System vs Singapore's
You know how we always hear about our kids doing worse than kids from other parts of the world in math and science? Well, Fareed Zakaria, in an interview with Thaman Shanmugaratnam (try saying that!), minister of Education of Singapore (rated #1 in global science and math rankings for schookids), points out that all is not quite as it seems.

"I asked the minister how to explain the fact that even though Singapore's students do so brilliantly on these tests, when you look at these same students 10 or 20 years later, few of them are worldbeaters anymore. Singapore has few truly top-ranked scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives or academics. American kids, by contrast, test much worse in the fourth and eighth grades but seem to do better later in life and in the real world. Why? "We both have meritocracies," Shanmugaratnam said. "Yours is a talent meri tocracy, ours is an exam meritocracy. There are some parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well—like creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, ambition. Most of all, America has a culture of learning that challenges conventional wisdom, even if it means challenging authority. These are the areas where Singapore must learn from America.""
But before you think all is roses in America, you should read the rest of the article at the link above.

Immigrants - Weren't we all Immigrants Once?

In this week's Newsweek, Anna Quindlan comments
"Explain to the smart little girl from Guatemal that no matter how hard she works, how much she cares, she's shut out of the big job. Explain it to the mother who lifted a listless kid from a crib in Siberia and now has a son who loves baseball and Fourth of July fireworks. Once they'be become citizens there's no way to justify the exclusion; in a country allegedly built on fairness, it's just not fair. Maybe one of the very best places to look for the presidents of the future is among the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. After all, as any religious person can telly you, converts often make the most passionate believers"
I'd love to see Anna come on Lou Dobb's show on CNN - now that would be a treat.

Quote of the Day
I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. Anna Quindlen

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